I’m not much of a gamer.
Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement. While I pride myself on the fact that I know more about video games than most college-age females, I am fairly lacking in the hand-eye coordination department. The only games I really enjoy playing and am good at are sports games, which is ironic because of how much I suck at sports in real life.
A few months ago, my boyfriend gave me his old copy of Animal Crossing, one of the original games for the Nintendo Gamecube. I popped in the game, spent a few hours playing it, got bored, and let it sit in a box and collect dust for awhile.
This weekend, he came to visit and popped in the game whilest I was lounging on the bed. Too tired to protest, I watched on. In a few minutes, I grabbed the controller and told him to back off.
I was hooked.
Three days later, my town is thriving, i’m addicted, and my roommate is having nightmares about the characters high-pitched, backwards-speak voices.
So what about this ten year old game has me hooked, devoting major time to a video game that does not involve skateboarding for the first time in years?
I have no idea. Literally, the entire game consists of menial tasks. Pick weeds. Catch fish. Catch bugs. Run errands for neighbors. Pay off your mortgage to the raccoon.
In fact, there isn’t even much to reward you for your toil. At best, you can pay off your house, live a comfortable life, make acquaintances with the cats, wolves, pigs, and koalas that live in your town, and spend your days frolicking amongst the blooming orange trees.
But, in the end, what makes Animal Crossing so utterly delightful is that there is no end. There is no goal. And, as my boyfriend puts it, just because there isn’t an end doesn’t mean there’s not a point. The point is to relax and spend a few minutes (or hours, or days) away from the busy pressures of your real life, and enjoy a world where a penguin lives next door.